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Jacko to give fans a final thrill

PUBLISHED: 16:02 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 25 August 2010

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

THE self-proclaimed King of Pop Michael Jackson attracted a dedicated throng of fans to the O2 to announce a farewell tour.

THE self-proclaimed King of Pop Michael Jackson attracted a dedicated throng of fans to the O2 to announce a farewell tour.

Hundreds of fans came to the O2 in Greenwich Peninsula last Thursday to see the 50-year-old Thriller singer announce 10 performances at the venue from July 8 for his This Is It tour.

Speaking from a small stage in the cold O2 foyer, he said: "Thank you all. This is it! This will be my final show performances in London.

"I will be performing the songs my fans want to hear."

He added: "This is it. I mean, this is really it. This is the final curtain call. I will see you in July!

"I love you! I really do, you have to know that I love you."

Jackson, who has sold around 750 million records worldwide, was greeted with screams and within 48 hours thousands of fans had applied for a ticket presale.

The singer, who was tried and acquitted in 2005 of sexual abuse allegations, spoke for just a couple of minutes after a nostalgic video montage of his greatest hits was played.

Presenter Dermot O'Leary, who agreed to act as compere, was left on stage alone for some time after introducing the singer who was over one-and-a-half hours late.

Despite this, excited fans were elated by their sighting of the troubled star.

Dedicated Jackson follower Murtaza Arif, 33, travelled from Enfield to wait seven hours for his idol. He said: "It was a long wait but he looked incredible, but he always does. I think he must just wake up every morning looking perfect."

Jackson's last London appearance was at the World Music Awards 2006, when he came on stage briefly with a group of youths to sing part of We Are the World.

Jadianne Bent, 14, from Crystal Palace, said: "He seemed really normal.

"I have been waiting for three hours and now I'm going to wait to see if he comes out again."

The teenager added that she'd written to Gordon Brown and Barack Obama asking if they could arrange a meeting with her idol.

But Andrew Young, 40, of Commercial Place, Gravesend, said: "I'm pleased I can now say I've seen him, and I do like the guy, but I didn't find his speech too exciting."

His daughter Anna, 13, added: "I thought he should have done more, like a dance. He looked alright, though."

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 7am, and cost between £50 and £75.

For more information visit www.michaeljacksonlive.com

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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